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More voters casting their ballots early
MONROE - In-person absentee voting topped more than 685,000 Friday afternoon throughout Wisconsin, the final day for those interested in early voting for Tuesday's election.

According to the Wisconsin Elections Commission, Green County has returned 2,570 total absentee ballots either through submitted or in-person votes. Lafayette County has returned 515 absentee ballots.

In Monroe, City Clerk Carol Stamm has seen a steady stream of early voters looking to alleviate the stress of election day by skipping what may be a long line at the polls. In-person absentee voting began in the city on Oct. 24 and ended Friday. Same-day registration was also available.

"Voters like the convenience," Stamm said. "Political parties have encouraged people to vote early. Every day it's been steady."

Voters had the chance throughout the last two weeks to cast an early ballot for president, state representatives and local officials. Monroe saw 1,134 in-person votes as of Friday afternoon. In the 2012 presidential election, 761 in-person absentee ballots were cast.

People like Josh Hoeltke, 36, voted early to avoid lines during poll time.

"To beat the lines, I do it every election I vote in," Hoeltke said after casting an early ballot on Friday afternoon.

Monroe resident Wanita Foesch said she usually votes early as well. Foesch also marked her early ballot on Friday afternoon.

"It's to beat the rush," Foesch said. "That way I don't have to take time out of my busy schedule."

Others cast a ballot before election day as a way to remove the daunting task from Tuesday. Stamm said the election day polls should still be busy and poll workers have already cast their early ballots in anticipation of the turnout.

Arianna Meier said she wanted to have the task done because of her duties during election day, but also to be finished with what has seemed like a long election cycle.

"I'm voting early so I don't have think about it anymore," Meier said.

City Clerk of Brodhead Teresa Withee said the measure has been helpful to the city's elderly voters.

"Older voters do appreciate it," Withee said. "Those who have a hard time standing or walking, it makes it easier on them."

Withee is overseeing her first presidential election, so she could not compare prior numbers to the upcoming election's early voter turnout. However, the 206 in-person absentee voters this election outpaced the total of 65 absentee votes during the primary in April, which drew in more than 1,000 voters. General election numbers are expected to be higher than primary totals.